Mistrial declared in strangling case

Oran Smith

A Charleston County jury deadlocked on whether Oran Smith was guilty of strangling Cheryl Snow to death inside her North Charleston apartment two years ago, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Thursday.

"We'll have to see if we can speak with some of the jurors before we have any comment on what happened," she said. "It was a real strong case, so I'm a little surprised."

Circuit Judge Kristi L. Harrington declared a mistrial Thursday afternoon, four days after the trial began and about eight hours after the jury began its deliberations.

In June 2007, Snow, 54, was found lying dead with her face in a puddle of blood inside her home at The Oaks at Sumner complex in Charleston Farms. About 18 mentally handicapped residents live in the complex, and neighbors said Snow was sociable and well liked.

Smith, 33, knew Snow, police said.

Smith was convicted of misdemeanor cocaine possession in 2005 and petit larceny in 1993, but had no record of violent crimes.

Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt said he apparently had convinced 11 of the 12 jurors but could not get the unanimous verdict required for a conviction.

"I think this is one that we're going to probably try again, maybe later in the fall," he said.